Through the many of mankind’s tales of adventure the search for immortality is a very common theme. Many heroes have made it the objective of their travels and adventures. This is no different in The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey. The heroes in both are tempted by the offer of immortality, however each of them turns it down for their own reasons. In The Odyssey, Odysseus rejects the offer of immortality from the goddess Calypso long after he discovers the true nature of the afterlife after travelling to Hades.
In a more symbolical way of thinking, immortality could be living on through remembrance of one’s accomplishments. This paper concentrates on the character of Gilgamesh and his pursuit of immortality after the loss of his friend Enkidu in tablet VII. For such a powerful character, a demigod at that, Gilgamesh lets his human side to emasculate his true power. Desperate for obtaining immortality, Gilgamesh deserts Uruk to begin his search for Utnapishtim, whom had survived the great flood and given immorality by the gods. As Enkidu obviously becomes an important part of Gilgamesh’s life, in the beginning, he is represented as Gilgamesh’s total opposite; his other half in fact.
Love and Death in The Epic of Gilgamesh Abstract: The most interesting stories invariably are about love and death. These two themes underlie the Epic of Gilgamesh, a mythic tale of the quest for immortality. Gilgamesh, profoundly affected by the death of his friend Enkidu at the hands of the gods, questions the injustice of life. Finding no answer, he of course tries to change—indeed, eliminate—the question by seeking immortality. The following essay examines Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s relationship, and the effect of Enkidu’s death on Gilgamesh.
In Beowulf and Gilgamesh, both heroes desire to gain everlasting life. At one point, Gilgamesh believes that he can actually gain eternal life and change his destiny. Beowulf, and eventually Gilgamesh, end up gaining everlasting life through their monuments and the good deeds that their people will remember them by. The ancient societies depicted in The Epic of Gilgamesh and Beowulf are no doubt representative of the actual societies that existed during those time periods. These ancient people were greatly concerned with issues such as death, fate, and destiny.
Gilgamesh says: “Because of my brother I am afraid of death, because of my brother I stray through the wilderness and cannot rest” (101). I would infer that if Enkidu were still alive, Gilgamesh would have no fascination with finding eternal life. In other words, it seems that Gilgamesh never had the time to ponder immortality because he was contented with his life, as it was, when Enkidu was alive. In fact, in tablet two, Enkidu tries to talk Gilgamesh out of fighting Humbaba. Gilgamesh says: “Then if I fall I leave behind me a name that endures; men *will say of me, “Gilgamesh has fallen in fight with ferocious Humbaba” (71).
In Gilgamesh, he fights Humbaba with Enkidu, his best friend. Humbaba is the guardian of the Cedar Forest who was assigned by the god Enlil. Gilgamesh doesn't fight for the world, but he has his own reasons. In the text, it states, “Even if I fail I will have made a lasting name for myself’’ (181). In other words, Gilgamesh's motivation to slaughter Humbaba is not just to get rid of evil but to let his people remember him.
“How can I rest, how can I be at peace? Despair is in my heart. What my brother is now, that shall be when I am dead. Because I am afraid of death I will go as best as I can to find Utnapishtim whom they call farwell, for he has entered the assembly of gods.” (Gilgamesh, 507) Gilgamesh finally finds Utnapishtim and demands for immortally. Untnapishtim explains to Gilgamesh that all that he did was obey the gods, in return the gods gave him immortality.
Gilgamesh believes that if he finds immortality he will become more god-like and discover his purpose. Gilgamesh realizes that he was created greater than all mortals, but that if he cannot escape death then he ends up as a mortal in the end. So from the time of his creation, Gilgamesh searches to find a way to overcome this looming shadow of mortal death. Although he is told over an... ... middle of paper ... ...having given up the search for immortality and fame, and by having lost so much that he becomes the ruler he was meant to be. Before Gilgamesh was able to reach his full potential, he needed to complete a journey.
The Search for Immortality In The Epic of Gilgamesh the main character, Gilgamesh, is searching for immortality. This want is brought about by deep feelings held by Gilgamesh for his dead friend Enkidu. From this, Gilgamesh finds himself being scared of dying. This fear pushes Gilgamesh to search for the power of immortal life, which is believed to be held only by women because of the fact that they can reproduce. This takes him on a long and tiresome journey to a land where no mortal has gone before.
Through the course of the epic we discover that Gilgamesh indeed does not have knowledge of all things, namely a grasp upon death. Adam does not even know that such a thing exists, thus his life, without the threat of death hanging overhead, is originally one of tranquility, happiness, and perfection. He is humble before his Lord God, with whom he shares the unique relationship of aiding him in His creation of all things. Adam’s life is full in this passive innocence and he has no need for any... ... middle of paper ... ...am’s innocence and ignorance, followed by Gilgamesh’s fame and power to Adam’s humbleness, then their shared punishments and voyages/exoduses and finally their collective discovery about immortality. I find Adam more honorable in his quest, for he searches after unknowingly defying God, rather than Gilgamesh’s looking through defying the gods.